October 11th, 2012
11:25 PM ET
2 years ago

CNN Poll: Debate watchers split on who won VP debate

Danville, Kentucky (CNN) - Call it a draw.

Forty-eight percent of voters who watched the vice presidential debate think that Rep. Paul Ryan won the showdown, according to a CNN/ORC International nationwide poll conducted right after Thursday night's faceoff. Forty-four percent say that Vice President Joe Biden was victorious. The Republican running mate's four point advantage among a debate audience that was more Republican than the country as a whole is within the survey's sampling error.

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Half of all debate watchers questioned in the poll said the showdown didn't make them more likely to vote for either of the candidates' bosses, 28% said the debate made them more likely to vote for Republican presidential nominee Mitt Romney and 21% said the faceoff made them more likely to vote to re-elect President Barack Obama.

According to the survey, 55% said that the vice president did better than expected, with 51% saying that the congressman from Wisconsin performed better than expected.

By a 50%-41% margin, debate watchers say that Ryan rather than Biden better expressed himself.

MORE: Romney calls Ryan with congratulations after debate

Seven in ten said Biden was seen as spending more time attacking his opponent, and that may be a contributing factor in Ryan's 53%-43% advantage on being more likable. Ryan also had a slight advantage on being more in touch with the problems of average Americans.

One of the top jobs for the candidates in a vice presidential debate is to convince Americans that they would be able to step into the top job if something happened to the president. The poll indicates that both men were seen as qualified to be president if necessary, by roughly equal numbers.

"This poll does not and cannot reflect the views of all Americans. It only represents the views of people who watched the debate and by definition cannot be an indication of how the entire American public will react to Wednesday's debate in the coming days," cautions CNN Polling Director Keating Holland.

One-third of the respondents who participated in tonight's survey identified themselves as Republicans, with 31% identifying themselves as Democrats, and 34% identifying themselves as independents.

"That indicates that the sample of debate watchers is more Republican than an average of recent CNN polls of all Americans," adds Holland.

MORE: Obama: 'could not be prouder' of Biden debate

The CNN poll was conducted by ORC International, with 381 registered voters nationwide who watched the debate questioned by telephone. All interviews were conducted after the end of the debate. The survey's sampling error is plus or minus five percentage points.

A CBS News poll of uncommitted voters who watched the debate gave Biden the edge over Ryan by a 50%-31% margin. Uncommitted voters made up roughly ten percent or less of the debate audience.

CNN Political Editor Paul Steinhauser contributed to this story

soundoff (4,842 Responses)
  1. Nick Gagnard

    Look at the Front Page of CNN and now this after thought page and you will understand "media bias". Even after all the numbers on this page which show a Ryan win, the front page touts Biden....CNN is a leftest sanctuary for the Koolaide drinkers.

    October 12, 2012 10:37 am at 10:37 am |
  2. ohioriver

    Biden exposed Ryan and it has changed my vote to Obama/Biden

    October 12, 2012 10:37 am at 10:37 am |
  3. Mary

    You know I am so sick of this at the moment I was a romney backer and now I am a Obama/Biden voter. I saw the first debate and I thought romney was crude, rude and kept interrupting and not letting President obama speak and then the next day, Oh he was great, he came out fighting and was great, If you are going against the big guys learn to defend yourself...I saw that with Ryan and he needs some more time to grown into a Presidencial candidate and that is not working right now. Be fair CNN and we knew you were going to say that Ryan won when in reality Mr. Biden won. I rather have some one who can talk to us and still make us feel like they are on our side. the HECK with Ryan or Romney, I am voting for Obama and Biden. People who know what they are doing and I want to give them the chance to finish what they started. Not this bafoons who keep flip floppping....

    October 12, 2012 10:38 am at 10:38 am |
  4. Nate

    @Reddy Come on. You say you were an undecided voter. No undecided voter makes their decision after a VP debate! Let alone base their decision on style points rather then the actual facts. You, my friend, were not an undecided voter. Please don't pretend to be one.

    October 12, 2012 10:38 am at 10:38 am |
  5. Horus

    I would give the edge to Ryan for composure, and to Biden for directness and specifics. I think Biden's interuptions and gestures were a distraction, but born out of pure frustration with what Ryan and Romney keep pandering; which is basically "just vote for us and will fix everything". As many economists have pointed out, even with lack of specifics, there's no way to accomplish what Romney/Ryan are touting without abandoning reasonable models for an extremely unrealistic plan of "we can cut taxes by 20%, create more jobs and expand the tax base". The only real way to do what they claim is by cutting benefits/deductions and effectively raising the burden on the average American worker.

    October 12, 2012 10:38 am at 10:38 am |
  6. OpenYourEyes

    It's easy to identify the mind controlled zombies. They repeat the talking points like "not enough specifics" without ever thinking about what they are saying. During the primaries, Romney laid out a 59 point tax plan and was critisized because it was too "nerdy and complex", so he condensed it to a 5 point framework. Now the same media is complaining there aren't enough details/ Has anyone seen any details of Obamas plan? Has anyone asked him for any?

    October 12, 2012 10:38 am at 10:38 am |
  7. Texo

    Got a bunch of weak-minded on here posting biden won the angry man contest. It is Obama and Biden and the dimwits that are in charge and own everthing since 2007. Dimwits took over Congress in 2007 and bush get all the blame. I only blame bush for not using his veto power. That he is guilty of and not folloing our laws. Then none of them do that as they are all so special. LOL

    October 12, 2012 10:38 am at 10:38 am |
  8. stan lee

    To the people citing the public poll and the CNN poll: CNN Polled people at a rate closer to 50/50 republican/democrats. The public poll likely is skewed towards biden because there are more democrats going to CNN.com.

    October 12, 2012 10:38 am at 10:38 am |
  9. WOW

    Do not say Biden was rude. He was desperate after his boss failed his debate. What you'll do when you are desperate?
    Do not complain Paul lacked details. Details won't time limit but will put you into sleep.
    Do not complain either of them lied. Figure out why lied less.
    If you do all above, you'll be happier and make up your mind sooner.

    October 12, 2012 10:39 am at 10:39 am |
  10. Amy

    "The Republican running mate's four point advantage among a debate audience that was more Republican than the country as a whole is within the survey's sampling error" So the Cnn poll is not accurate because it has more republicans on the sample, on the other hand CBS poll had Biden 50%, Ryan 31%, Tie 19% This poll makes more sense, Ryan has two bad moments during the debate: when he was trying to explain how they will pay for the tax cuts and the raise in the defense budget (not explanation at all, it was a really bad moment for him) and the second one when the abortion question came he left the door open for a change in abortion legislation, these two issues will hurt the ticket.

    October 12, 2012 10:39 am at 10:39 am |
  11. self sufficient in texas

    There is a very clear difference here. Obama want a socialist country where govt provides EVERYTHING, one world govt, and one world currency, and anyone working belongs to a labor union. 4 years ago Obama was blasting the Bush Adm (and still is) regarding the increase in deficit spending and running up the debt level. Well people, Obama has increased the national deficit more in 4 years than Bush did in 8 years. Romney/Ryan will rely on individual desire to succeed with better employment opportunities which will lead to increased tax revenues, work on getting the outrageous debt issue under control, and hopefully completely repeal Obamacare and replace with a more common sense program that does not put the Govt in charge of my choices. Opening up the Keystone Pipeline project will create MORE jobs in 90 days than the Obama policies have in 4 years. Wake up people. I must admit that I wouldn't expect CNN to do anything other than back Obama – what media bias!!!!!!

    October 12, 2012 10:39 am at 10:39 am |
  12. Richard Klein

    I would like cnn to check their polling system. Their anchor thought Biden won. Fact checkers found problems with Ryan's facts. More than Biden's. Other anchors non-republicans thought Biden won too.

    October 12, 2012 10:39 am at 10:39 am |
  13. fala mangaa

    Seriously i always watch CNN as my default channel with occasional watching of other channels for 2nd or 3rd opinion, but no more for me i switched my channel to NBC

    October 12, 2012 10:39 am at 10:39 am |
  14. Kevin

    Biden basically knocked out Ryan by TKO. He was the more stately, had better command of the facts, and was more down to earth in my opinion to the average american. His use of the "trust" line was epic. Ryan was smarmy, bookwormish, and he appeared to be running from facts about Romney's plans for medicare and taxes. I think the tide has turned and the race is headed back in the presidents favor once again. Obama needs to buy Joe a beer, he just saved the race for him!!!!

    October 12, 2012 10:39 am at 10:39 am |
  15. A Victory For the Democrats!

    What a Great night for the Democrats!! Joe Biden was expected to bring it home for Obama and he sure did that and more, literally creaming his opponent! Biden was more knowledgeable, personable, and sincere to help the Middle Class and other Americans as well as taking our soldiers out of harm's way while in foreign lands while Ryan came off as being uncaring and control-oriented, not helping retired Americans and those close to retirement, and quick to go to war, basically spelling out the Rhomboid position. Let's hear it for Joe Biden, Barack Obama and all Middle Class Americans!! YAY!!! We All Won last night!

    October 12, 2012 10:39 am at 10:39 am |
  16. HarleyMOM

    I think Ryan played it VERY smart and perhaps not winning was the outcome they wanted? He was respectful and calm. I got mad at how rude and childish Biden got.

    October 12, 2012 10:39 am at 10:39 am |
  17. mike58

    I give a small edge to Ryan
    I knew Biden would be rude like he always is. This country has serious problems it was uncomfortable watching Biden just laugh them off. Biden's biggest gaffe was Libya and the cover up
    Ryan could have been stronger to many numbers and details so the points got lost

    October 12, 2012 10:40 am at 10:40 am |
  18. Al-NY,NY

    JLJ

    Ryan definitely won. Biden was rude, disrespectful, and pompous
    ------

    the State of the Union........"YOU LIE." Rude, disrespectful and pompous to a degree beyond Biden's that cannot be calculated

    October 12, 2012 10:40 am at 10:40 am |
  19. Mark

    Romney/Ryan can spread all the pixie dust and fairy tales they want about cutting taxes for everyone by 20%, increasing defense spending and closing a few loopholes on the wealthy to pay for it but it doesn't pass the smell test. Government revenue from income tax is projected to be about $2.1T next year. A 20% tax cut would be about $400 billion dollars a year. In comparison If the Bush tax cuts for the wealthy are allowed to expire that will bring in less than $80B a year. According to Congressman Ryan last night ALL the loopholes in the tax code cost the government about $1.1T a year. The math doesn't add up. You will need to close more than a few loopholes on the wealthy to pay for the Romney/Ryan plan! That's not even bringing in the increases in defense spending and the trillion dollar deficit. Oh I know we're going to 'grow' our way out of it. lol.

    October 12, 2012 10:40 am at 10:40 am |
  20. stop-the-whining

    As Obama once said, if you don't have a record to run on, you attack your opponent. That is what I saw with Biden. He attacked Ryan and Biden offered no information on how the next 4 years would be better than the last 4 years. We cannot afford another 4 years like the last!!!

    October 12, 2012 10:40 am at 10:40 am |
  21. Lenore

    Its funny they didn't call romney a bully, but Biden is. Don't you hate politics. What a bunch of crybababies. Biden did what he is supposed to. if people thought is rude, please look up the definition of debate. He won hands down. And I hope Ryan loses here in WI. He follows the teachings of ATHEIST economist Ayn Rand,and if that's not enough o make you to question their agenda, nothing will. I say Romney, take the family on vacation on one of you many jets, strap the dog on the top, roll down the window, sing America the beautiful as you are making deals to send more jobs overseas. you are the one percent that is trying to take this country and make another India. Not while I still have a breath.

    October 12, 2012 10:40 am at 10:40 am |
  22. Carol

    Vice President Biden schooled Lyin' Ryan and then took him to the woodshed. Yay.

    October 12, 2012 10:40 am at 10:40 am |
  23. Kevin

    If all the Republicans have is that BIden laughed and smirked...you know Biden won. Biden did what obama needed to do, interupt the lie coming from Ryans mouth. Biden won hands down, and Ryan is clearly not experienced enough to become VP of this nation.

    October 12, 2012 10:40 am at 10:40 am |
  24. Kevin

    Joe Biden was a disgrace last night. What does he think this is a circus show with his clowning around, comments like "Malarkey?" This just proves this entire Administration is a joke with the way they treat the American people with disrespect and in the the way Biden conducedt himself last nigh. Truly Biden is a sad excuse for a VP and his actions were inappropriate.

    October 12, 2012 10:40 am at 10:40 am |
  25. Horus

    I would give the edge to Ryan for composure, and to Biden for directness and specifics. I think Biden's interuptions and gestures were a distraction, but born out of pure frustration with what Ryan and Romney keep pandering; which is basically "just vote for us and will fix everything".

    October 12, 2012 10:40 am at 10:40 am |
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